Aquatic Park, Berkeley, California. Credit: Michael Moore
Hugo Espinoza. Credit: BPD

Police arrested a man in West Berkeley last week after he allegedly forced his way into a woman’s RV and tried to rape her at gunpoint, authorities report.

Hugo Espinoza was on probation at the time of his arrest and, as of publication time, remains in custody, according to court records online.

On May 10 just before 11:10 p.m., as firefighters worked to put out a blaze at an encampment in Aquatic Park, a woman approached them and said “she had just escaped from a suspect who had forced his way into her RV and attempted to sexually assault her at gunpoint,” Officer Byron White, police spokesperson, told Berkeleyside.

The man, who was a stranger to her, was still inside her RV, she said. BFD alerted police and officers responded immediately, surrounding the RV, White said. They tried to make verbal contact with the man, but he didn’t answer.

Several hours later, at about 2 a.m., an officer from BPD’s Special Response Team set off a flash-bang grenade outside the RV to create a loud noise, White said. Not long afterward, the man came outside and was taken into custody without incident.

Police identified the man as 36-year-old Hugo Espinoza (no address). During a search of Espinoza, BPD said, officers found a loaded handgun that had been reported stolen, methamphetamine and ecstasy pills.

Espinoza was arrested on suspicion of home invasion, attempted rape by force, attempted oral copulation, false imprisonment with violence, possession of stolen property, carrying a loaded, concealed firearm, and possession of controlled substances.

As of Wednesday, Espinoza was still in custody at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. No bail amount was listed and he appeared to be held in connection with a probation violation.

According to court records, Espinoza had been charged in January with carjacking, as well as a special allegation that he committed that crime while on bail for a different case: a commercial burglary from December 2020. He was ultimately placed on probation through March 2023 as part of a plea deal.

On May 13, the court revoked his probation, according to court records online.

Espinoza is scheduled for a post-probation revocation hearing May 24 at the René C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland.

Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist of the Year...